Conceptions of cinematic experience have subscribed to inadequate models of perception. These models did not capture the nature of the various modes of viewers’ visual and emotional engagements with film characters and the screened world. The prevailing critical view of cinema was of a manipulative apparatus, controlling the unaware cinemagoer. Against this construction of a cinema based on deception and fraud, and thus inhospitable to ethical experience, Gilles Deleuze and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, despite some difficulties, and although from what seem to be completely different perspectives, offer an alternative. Both Deleuze’s discussion of Henri Bergson on the relationships between bodies, movement and images, and Merleau-Ponty’s work on perception as a holistic (gestalt) experience recognize the importance of the film medium for our understanding of human perception. Meanwhile, Vivian Sobchack’s claim that cinematic experience is unique in allowing the viewer to see as someone else sees is the starting point for the path I take in giving an account of cinematic experience as essentially ethical.